Writing Is Not a Solo Sport

aly_drew

photo credit: Arne Parrott

Striking a hero’s pose here is Drew Mierzejewski. I briefly met him two years ago through Alyson Grauer. Now if Aly’s name sounds familiar, it’s because you can find her lending her voice to one of my podcasts here, hear her rock the steampunk here, do it again here, and then giving good panel at DemiCon 25. Aly’s got game. So does Drew. That might be one of many reason these two got married.

Check it out, Chicago. This is an up-and-coming power couple to watch. I’m just sayin’.

Thing about Drew—I wish I knew him better. Something just tells me we’d be talking to the wee small hours in the morning about…stuff. Deep stuff. I especially got that impression when I saw a random Facebook post from him yesterday about the road creatives walk. The entire thread is here, and you really should check it out or even chime in if you like, but this was the part that made me stop and think…

Therefore, I would like to place a hypothetical to each of you. Why do we do walk this road alone? There are many of us! Why do we not band together in a great bonfire of creativity and make art? Is it impractical? It is idealistic? Is it too terrifying? What is stopping us from creating a massive company that makes art year round, in which we pool resources and talent to make the best of what we have to offer? Now, I want to reiterate that I ask this in hypothetical but I do want to hear your thoughts on this. So please take a moment and tell me in the comments what you think. Tell me why.

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Something to send you into the weekend…

It’s been a weird April 1. I’ve been a bit distracted as I’ve been thinking a lot about my friend, Joe, stressing out over getting into the Dogfish Dash (I got in), and prepping for a big event in Vegas. I’ve just felt a little out of sync.

Then I found this quote. Makes me feel ready to face the weekend, and things to come…

  
Wise words indeed.

This weekend, embrace this gift we have been blessed with.

Live.

If You’re Reading This Blogpost, I’m Down Ten Pounds. #ThanksFitBit

chubby_teeFebruary 4, 2013.

That was the last time I really gave a damn about my health.

What happened? Well, if you read that blogpost, you heard my mea culpa on how I had successfully gained all the weight I had lost back in 2007. While pictures, thanks to Photoshop, can lie; it was the steampunk outfit I attempted to get into at the Emerald City Steampunk Expo that did not lie. This was when I returned to MediFast. I blogged on February 4 how happy I was on my progress. Down twenty pounds. I was thrilled.

Then, a week after that post, I went from thrilled to unemployed.

So what did I discover in 2013? Tee Morris, award-winning author, podcaster, and unbelievable beer snob is a stress eater. And yes, it’s a real thing. And yes, I’m really good at it. Continue reading

Paying Attention: A Secret Behind Inspiration

iStock_000006201684XLarge “How do you get all those ideas?”

I rank this question up along with “How do you learn all those lines?” when I was the actor. It was a question actors dreaded, but I rarely think we were asked it when we had a “Meet & Greet” with the audience. It’s a fair enough question, though; and since I never got it when I was an actor, I’ll answer it here. “Rehearsal and repetition.” That’s the key in learning your lines, be it for a play, a presentation, or for a very important one-on-one you have on your books.

Now, as a writer, the ideas question tends to be the one that earns an eye-roll, but I don’t think it’s fair. People are genuinely curious how authors come up with what they put down on paper. Maybe it’s because they wonder how someone can think up Victorian secret agents investigating the unknown, or a dwarf-detective solving crimes in the Prohibition Era; and it’s a sincere question. I know that when I’ve read books I love, or enjoyed an episode of Almost Human or True Detective, I marvel at the air tight dialogue or incredible situations these talented writers come up with and wonder what drives them. It’s good to know where ideas come from and what makes them happen because inspiration keep you busy as a writer.

If there was a magic bullet in finding great ideas, it actually ties back to a trick I had with acting: Pay attention. The world around you is teeming with ideas, and inspiration can happen at any time. With technology, jotting ideas down has been made insanely easy, so now instead of carrying around the writer’s notebook, journal—or ledger as The Taxman does—you can whip out the smartphone and take notes. What’s key though in finding inspiration is paying attention to what’s around you. Many times, that’s all you need to get an idea going. 

Case in point, today the third season of Tales from the Archives launched; and I’m particularly proud of this story that Pip and I put together as it came from the unlikeliest of places: church. Now church is probably not the place where I should be in “Writer’s Mode” but Trinity Episcopal of Manassas prides itself on being a different kind of church. This particular day, Dennis Reid, was giving a sermon on Judas Iscariot; but not the kind of sermon you would think. He said something that struck me hard: Continue reading

Stranger on a Train XX

I don’t believe in coincidence.

I do believe in God.

And this morning, I got a talking to through the radio…

And when you wake up in the morning 
With your head on fire 
And your eyes too bloody to see 
Go on and cry in your coffee 
But don’t come bitchin’ to me 

Because you had to be a big shot, didn’t ya
You had to open up your mouth 
You had to be a big shot, didn’t ya, 
All your friends were so knocked out 
You had to have the last word, last night 
You know what everything’s about 
You had to have a white hot spotlight 
You had to be a big shot last night

Billy Joel. Pre-Uptown Girl. Shit don’t get more real than that. Thanks, God. I needed that.

See, last night I got what had to be the weirdest, most conflicted feedback I’ve ever received on any of my endeavors. In turn, I’m feeling conflicted about it. It all comes on the heels of a tiny rant I had concerning The Janus Affair book trailer. Yeah, I know — you’re probably think I’m obsessing over it, and maybe I am. A bit. Look, the point is I got this complete curveball right before hitting the sack and I’m asking myself “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?” even the following morning. There’s a bigger blogpost in here, I think, for another time; but there is a lesson learned here: Be careful what you wish for.

Sometimes, being a Big Shot isn’t easy.

This isn’t a rallying of the troops, mind you. It’s been a week, safe to say; but I got a groove with By Dawn’s Early Light and an audiobook in the can. As the conductor just said, I’ll just sit back and enjoy the ride.

 

“You Can’t Give Up. You’re Not Allowed.”

I never like seeing friends stressed out. Whether it is intensely stressed out or just out of their groove, it just kills me. It is amplified more when I feel the bumpy ride of Life’s rougher patches. Last week, snapping back from what can only be described as an “emotionally charged night” between me and the World, I read up on a writer and friend I admire and hold dear. Turns out he was also hitting a rough patch of road.

Phil Rossi, the multitalented man with the flowing hair of awesome, began a series of posts called “Paralysis.” He’s working through a writer’s dry spell; and in “Part I: Stranded,” he went “All In” like the rock-and-roll badass that he is:

“Another truth–I’ve never been in this place before. I don’t recognize the countryside.  The air here is different—heavy and overwhelming. Talk about a wrong turn. In the past, I’ve been able to work through any creative block. This is different.”

It was in this passage from the second posting in this series entitled “Part II: Patience” where I felt like I clicked with Phil on the raw fear now gnawing away at him: Continue reading